Defenders’ Day is Baltimore’s oldest holiday which commemorates the successful defense of the city from an invading British military force during the War of 1812. The attack also inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem, which when
set to music a few days later, became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In 1931, it was designated as the national anthem of the United States.
This year’s Defenders' Day program will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I. In September 1917, the Army broke ground at Fort McHenry at what would become the nation’s largest hospital during World War I for soldiers returning from the European front. A special exhibit will be debuted in the visitor's center displaying never before seen images from 1917-1923.
Celebrate all weekend long and participate in events to include a large Word War I and 1814-style military encampment featuring drills, cooking demonstrations, and musket firing.
Family-oriented activities include a dress parade, children’s programs, cannon firing, and raising of the giant 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag.
The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," are scheduled to participate in various events throughout Defenders' Day weekend. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington promotes the Army’s heritage and traditions through performances that inspire, entertain and educate the American public on the Army’s early origins and contributions to the history and development of the United States.